Yesterday, I received the email that I always dreamt of receiving: Streets of Rage 4 is actually happening.
At first, I thought my eyes were deceiving me, so I read it again. There was no mistaking it: it read, clear as day, “Streets of Rage 4 announced”. At this point Kim looked at me in a funny way. “What’s up?”, she asked. “Streets of Rage 4 is actually a thing”, I excitedly replied. Unfortunately, Kim didn’t share my enthusiasm. Deflated, “I thought we’d won the lottery or something” she replied.
Street of Rage 2 remains one of my favourite games to this day. Even now, playing it stirs something within me. It’s timeless. With its follow up, Streets of Rage 3, now being over 24 years old though, I honestly thought the series was dead. There was always a shred of hope within me that somehow it would be revived, but I always thought it was a pipe-dream. How glad am I that that’s not the case.
Well, kind of.
You see, I have reservations about Streets of Rage 4. Well, actually, just the one. While the series’ gameplay is undoubtedly a draw, and so too its characters and visuals, it was always the music that really made an impact on me. To this day, I often find myself listening to the music of all three games and simply being in awe of it. I mean, check out the track below. It’s hard to believe that this kind of thing was possible on a Mega Drive.
Composed by Yuzo Koshiro (with some help by Motohiro Kawashima), all three of the Streets of Rage soundtracks are golden. They drive the action that’s happening on screen, and without it, I just don’t think the games would be the same. Like how Akira Yamaoka is synonymous with the Silent Hill series, Yuzo Koshiro is an integral part of Streets of Rage. Or at least that’s how I see it, anyway.
At the current moment in time, we don’t know whether or not Yuzo Koshiro will return to do the music for Streets of Rage 4. Yesterday, he tweeted that he currently can’t say anything about the subject. In any case, the music used in the Streets of Rage 4 announcement trailer, which you can watch below, certainly doesn’t sound like his work.
I remain cautiously optimistic about Street of Rage 4 then. While I’m relishing the thought of busting skulls as Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding once again, I’m not sure if it’ll be quite the same if there isn’t a soundtrack by Yuzo Koshiro to back the action up. The Streets of Rage 4 trailer shows off gorgeous hand-drawn visuals and gameplay that appears to stick to the series’ roots, but without Yuzo Koshiro’s music, I worry that it just won’t have the same spirit as the classics I played in my youth. I guess only time will tell.